19th November 2013

Board Development – who’s responsibility?

I attended a governance workshop at Cass Business School last week to understand a Board Development Programme that Cass CCE had been running with Help the Hospices. As a Trustee I want to ensure my own professional development, and if I’m totally honest I wanted to compare the service that Cass CCE offers with the Peridot Partners service that we offer. The day reinforced my opinion that Trustees need to get together more regularly to share thinking and ideas. In one session there was a conversation about creating learning partnerships where two people can come together and share knowledge, learning and experience.  This can simply be two Trustees of different charities comparing practices, sharing articles or books that they may have read, and testing new ideas with each other.  We discussed how this may be facilitated, but why does it need to be? We probably all know other people who are Trustees, School Governors or Non-Exec Directors, all Board members with governance experience to share.  Why don’t we share knowledge and experience more freely? There were lots of common themes between the Cass CCE and Peridot programmes. The focus on helping boards create space for ‘generative thinking’ or moving beyond […]
8th November 2013

Peridot/Guardian Charity Quiz Night

Last month the National Children’s and Adults Conference was held in Harrogate. The annual conference is widely seen and recognised as the ‘biggest and most important of its kind for the sector’. Financial constraints, adult social care and support reform, the Care Bill, social care and health integration, children’s services and the role of Ofsted, the Children and Families Bill, Health and Wellbeing boards – everything was discussed. With the conference also comes a whole range of networking events over the course of the three days. Once again, Peridot Partners was proud to sponsor and host ‘The’ social event of this year’s conference – the Charity quiz night. Peridot Partners and The Guardian once again teamed up to provide an evening of entertainment, competition and truly amazing prizes. All proceeds went to charity (this year it was for Homestart). You can view pictures from the event here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/107070366@N08/
31st October 2013

Hire the right person, not the best person.

I have recently been working with a leading medical charity and we’ve hired 3 senior fundraisers to their fundraising leadership team. This was loaded with risk. I’ve learnt through experience that the majority of recruitment in the fundraising sector at this level is focused on the transaction between a recruiter and an organisation, which is about making a placement and earning a fee. This doesn’t alleviate the risks. The risks include candidates viewing the job, salary, status, title as the most important drivers, which in themselves can pull a candidate into an organisation, but thought for a candidate’s level of sustainable success and long-term retention is often left to chance. Standard recruitment practice doesn’t usually take enough account of the dynamics of the rest of the team, and the impact a person will have on morale, culture and ultimately team performance. Whilst well versed in what it takes to attract talented fundraisers, I am talking about much more than the case for attraction and getting the best candidates engaged in the recruitment process. I’ve always cared about the relationship I’ve had with candidates and clients, and made the best placements I could, influencing where possible, but it’s only since moving […]
16th October 2013

Safeguarding Issues and Solutions for Birmingham City Council

An independent review published in Birmingham earlier this month, showed once again a collective failure of doctors, social workers, police and nursery staff to prevent the death of two year old Keanu Williams, beaten to death by his mother Rebecca Shuttleworth. Rebecca Shuttleworth who grew up in care herself had a chaotic lifestyle. Frequently moving addresses, changing partners and at times homeless, at no time did she provide her son with a home or a cot, belongings or toys. It appears that at the early stages of his life she was given parenting support in Milton Keynes, staying in a mother and baby unit and receiving parenting lessons. However when she moved to a different authority, she seems to have slipped below the radar, until close to Keanu’s death. In a situation like this, where the mother is both abusive and manipulative, and the child is unable to speak for itself and afraid, it is wholly understandable that the social workers feel powerless, and the children become invisible. We all want to believe that the primary care providers of a child, namely its parents, have the child’s best interests at heart, but in some cases, this is sadly not the […]
8th October 2013

What skills do Trustee Boards need today?

Reading an article today that female representation continues to rise in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies* there was a quote from an executive search consultant working with private sector Boards, who said: “The days of presenting all male candidates have gone. What is becoming more influential is the market expectations for Board composition. This has given us the opportunity to find people who would not have made it on to Boards five years ago; HR, Commercial, Legal and Company Secretaries have all been good sources of talent – we are now free to look more widely for talent.” Trustee boards have been seeking and utilising those kinds of skills in their Trustees for many years. But, just as Board composition is changing in the commercial sector, it is also changing in the charity sector, and I’m not convinced that as a sector we are aware of which skills are increasingly sought after on our Trustee Boards. There are common challenges to developing an effective Board and in securing a skills mix that supports the charity in moving purposefully towards its objectives, but I want to challenge you to think seriously about the following three areas: 1) Modern marketing […]
19th September 2013

When all you can do is reflect

I write this blog while stuck  in ICU being treated for three serious infections brought on by a nasty bug that I somehow caught in the community. My doctor said I was unlucky, the understatement of the year.  It was a harrowing start, but I’m now responding well to treatment and things are on the up. And I’m extremely bored, which can only be a good thing.  What this has done is give me time to reflect on the real world implications of the amazing work done by a number of our clients. Peridot Partners is lucky to work with some of the best universities and research institutes in the world like Oxford, Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research. Each day, legions of researchers battle funding constraints and commit themselves to finding cures and treatments for today’s health issues. Before I became a headhunter I worked for many years in higher education fundraising. I never ceased to be inspired by the passionate academics and researchers that I was lucky to work with. These people make real world differences everyday. I am now even more grateful to them. So for everyone who questions why universities should have charitable status, look […]
17th September 2013

Listen to find the solutions

Recently elected to represent my local Patient Participation Group at the Regional Patient Forum I duly attended my first meeting last week and have only just recovered from the shock and awe of the sheer scale of the task ahead for the newly established CCG – and in turn the impending impact on my local health economy. The CCG’s are putting patient feedback and engagement as a central plank to their emergent strategy and it is our role, as much as we are able, to support them in finding different solutions as the tension of growing demand and less money increases its grip.  They want to listen to our views, hear our stories and respond to support the shaping of something new. I realise health and social care faces an unprecedented challenge but they need to carry out cost savings on an eye-watering scale and this means radical change.  A strategy is developing focusing on: prevention; using technology so people can ‘manage their own health’; increasing integration between health and social care and last but not least, harnessing the potential of the third sector. It is this strand that is the one closest to my heart but anecdotally at least […]
10th September 2013

Where do the top charity CEOs come from?

 So what caught my eye in the Civil Society biennial survey of the chief executives of the largest 100 charities? It was not that three quarters earn between £100k and £200k – and that the average salary is £146k when you take out the top few major earners.  And it was not that the average age of a CEO is 55 and male either; we all knew that anyway, right?  I was in fact interested to see that the average CEO has been in the charity sector for over 15 years, and that two years ago the sharp influx of CEOs from the public sector has not been repeated since. Thirteen of the CEOs of the top 100 charities have come from the private sector, but most still come through the charity sector with 15+ years experience and we need to take notice of this when we think about recruitment and succession planning. As head-hunters, with increasing regularity we are asked to find strategic directors with commercial experience to drive income, particularly in the new world of commissioning and complex contracting where the charity sector is competing with the private sector.  Social care is a great example of this.  But […]